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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

July 2, 2014 South Florida sea level rise needs urgent action: task force

Source: Reuters

South Florida's coastal real estate may become uninsurable as the sea level rises unless Miami's county government takes urgent action, a task force said on Tuesday. "We believe that without a professionally well thought out...

July 1, 2014 World Oceans Day 2014: Together, We Have the Power to Protect the Ocean

National Geographic - A sea turtle swims up from the depths. (Photograph by Matt Weiss) The concept for a âWorld Ocean Dayâ was first proposed in 1992 by the government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro....

July 1, 2014 Venezuela begins rationing water, electricity

Washington Times - Some 6 million people in Venezuelaâs capital may have to go three days a week without water after authorities began implementing a rationing plan on Wednesday. The government said the emergency plan in...

July 1, 2014 Plastic Debris Widespread On Ocean Surface, Study Finds

Source: Huff Post

Plastic junk is floating widely on the world's oceans, but there's less of it than expected, a study says. Such ocean pollution has drawn attention in recent years because of its potential harm to fish and other wildlife.

June 30, 2014 The Water Crisis in the West

Source: NY Times

With water increasingly scarce in the drought-ravaged American West, many states could face drastic rationing without rain. Even with more sustainable practices, the future of water in the West is not secure. Population growth,...

June 29, 2014 Beyond big dams: turning to grass-roots solutions on water

The Christian Science Monitor - How will the world find the water to feed a growing population in an era of droughts and water shortages' The answer, a growing number of water experts are saying, is to forget big government-run...

June 28, 2014 Cutting off water to Detroit's poor 'an affront to human rights,' says UN

RT - Now, even the îUnited Nationsî has stepped in, saying Detroit is in violation of the human right to water. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is facing $5 billion in bad debt, and is scrambling to...

June 27, 2014 Low water levels in Great Lakes could cost Canada billions: report - text/video

Source: CTV News -text/video

TORONTO -- If the low water levels recorded in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River in recent years continue for sustained periods, the long-term impact on the region's economy could reach more than C$20 billion by 2050,...

June 27, 2014 Goldman Says Shale Gas Boom Driving Fear From Market

Source: Bloomberg

Rising U.S. shale gas production is driving fear out of the futures market, says Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and will constrain prices for the next two decades. Gone will be the near tripling of costs to $15.78 as in 2005 as...

June 26, 2014 Water risk factor now 'closing in' on global coal industry

Edie - A study from the îWorld Resources Instituteî (WRI) points out that five of the world's top coal producing/consuming countries - India, Japan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and South Korea - are located on the Asian...

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